Woolworths set for huge stock clearance

James Thompson
Friday 28 November 2008 01:00

The administrator to Woolworths has vowed to pay its staff while its stores stay open past Christmas, as the Prime Minister pledged to provide support for employees facing redundancy.

The retailer collapsed into administration on Wednesday night, putting up to 30,000 jobs at risk. While the jobs of store staff are safe until after Christmas, some head office staff will be made redundant in the next few days.

Deloitte revealed that it has hired Hilco – the restructuring specialist that failed in its bid this week to buy Woolworths' 800-store retail chain for £1 – to assist in the management of the high street chain. Hilco is expected to soon begin a huge stock clearance programme that will have a major impact on the retailer's rivals over the critical Christmas trading period. Yesterday, Gordon Brown said: "The important thing is in the long run that employees in the company can get other jobs quickly."

Deloitte is trying to find buyers for the retail chain and EUK, its wholesale entertainment division, which sells DVDs and CDs to supermarkets and is part of the administration process.

A Deloitte spokeswoman said: "There has been a substantial amount of interest in both parts of the business so the administration team is reviewing them."

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